Historical referendum in New Caledonia

New Caledonia rejects in a referendum to be independent of France. The ‘no’ was imposed by 56.4% of the votes, according to definitive data. The vote is a consequence of the Nouméa agreements, signed 20 years ago that foresee the repetition of the consultation in two years. The participation was very high. It reached almost 80% of the census, 20 points above that registered in the last provincial elections. We must know that in this consultation only 174,154 voters had the right to vote, instead of the 210,000 that make up the usual electoral census. Several restrictions had been established with demands of years of residence to vote for independence. The process does not end here. The agreements of 98, signed by independentistas and unionistas under the patronage of the socialist prime minister Michel Rocard, foresee the repetition of the referendum. It will be enough for it to be requested by a third of the Congress (parliament) of New Caledonia. At present, 25 of its 54 members are independentistas. The text requires a minimum term of two years. In case of another victory of ‘no’, the same period of time would be necessary to reconvene a third referendum. After a quiet campaign, at the time of the count seven cars were burned and there were a couple of clashes in the capital. New Caledonia is in the Pacific 17,000 kilometers from Paris, east of Australia. It is French territory since 1853 when Napoleon III conquered and installed a prison. The natives, called Kanakos, are 39% of the 270,000 inhabitants and live mostly on the Big Island. Nickel is the main wealth.

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